Re: treating vs. not treating for mites: opinion thread
I have 25 hives. Do I really need to kill nearly 2-1/2 # of bees to establish a baseline? I think, um, no. Since I treat with OAV, using the number of mites that I kill establishes a different baseline, one that tells me how many more applications are necessary to obtain effective control. I am a lot more concerned with how many mites are in the hive as opposed to how many per hundred bees which to me is quite meaningless since you are sampling a subset of bees shown to have a disproportionate number of the total mite load in the first place. Sampling error in selecting the bees or operator error in an incorrectly done wash can skew the results dramatically. However, if I do an OAV treatment and obtain say 200 dead mites on the bottom board, not only have I not killed any bees in the process, I have killed 200 mites. Using the 80/20 ratio of mites under cappings to so called phoretic mites, I can determine there were approximately 1000 mites in the hive. Now I have a good idea how many more I need to kill. Of course, if you are treatment free, you do need to monitor somehow to know when an intervention such as drone brood culling or a brood break is needed.
Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.